"Emma Jebsen"

Life onboard , - part 3


- a visit to Chan Lap Chung's cabin -

I suppose that many, - even sailors -, do not really know how the Chinese crew lives on a "China Trader" - - - -
I often visited my friend Chan Lap Chung in his cabin, - and occasionally he would also show up in mine, but normally the crew does not go to the Officer's quarters on the upper decks.
This is a sort of culture or tradition at sea - - -

But nevertheless Chan Lap Chung became my good friend right from the beginning of the "Emma Jebsen" period.
He was one of the main sources in my process to learn and understand the Chinese mind and the Chinese way, and we often went ashore together, simply to have fun the sailor way, or to attend Chinese festivals in a way foreigners would never have a chance to experience.
Of course he could "feel", that I was genuinely interested in his World and his culture, - and I did not have "eyes in my forehead", - an expression the Chinese would use if they could feel that they were overlooked, ignored or looked at as inferior beings.

Chan Lap Chung's advantage was, that he understood the "Gwei Lo" mind, - and therefore he never got offended, which was otherwise quite a common thing for Chinese sailors, - and they never forgot -, which could end up with the result, that many a "Gwei Lo" Officer have experienced a sudden outbursts of anger, - and even attack -, from a Chinese sailor, without having the faintest idea why!

Of course I found the Chinese World very interesting indeed, - and also very funny -, and Chan Lap Chung had exactly the same feeling against the "Gwei Lo" way of doing things, - or as he would say: "The "Gwei Lo" are veeeeeri, veeeeri funny!"
In other words, - we looked at each other with exactly the same feeling and respect, - and could laugh for hours about how "funny" we were!

Chan Lap Chung had another "advantage", although he would look at it as the absolute darkest chapter of his life.
Believe it or not, but this sailor had once been in the British Army in Hong Kong!
Anyone who knew Chan Lap Chung would know, that this would NEVER work out to anybody's benefit.
And of course it did not!
However, - he did learn a very special side of the "Gwei Lo" way, - which now made him able of making by far the best imitation on British Army Officers I have ever seen!  Chan Lap Chung was simply funny, - very funny!

Well, - here comes a series of pictures taken in Chan Lap Chung's cabin, - and it also happened to be the last time I visited him in his quarters.

Welcome aboard - -
Chan Lap Chung at his cabin door, - beer bottle in hand, and tendency to beer belly below -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Chan Lap Chung in his "home" - -
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Chan Lap Chung in his "home" , - with "San Mig" beer on the table -, of course!
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Chan Lap Chung and best friend, - ME!
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Chan Lap Chung in his "cozy corner"
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

See!  TV , refrigerator, - EVERYTHING!
Chan Lap Chung on his faithful bunk.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Chan Lap Chung showing his display of memories and souvenirs
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Chan Lap Chung enjoying his bunk, - and cold bier.
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

Chan Lap Chung writing a love letter.
(Actually it was my job to do rough drafts, since my English was considerably better than his, but he had to do the actual writing himself!)
(Photography by Karsten Petersen ©)

The pictures here on this page are taken on May 20. 1977, - and as mentioned above that was my last visit to Chan Lap Chung's cabin.
Three days later I found myself on a plane from Hong Kong to Denmark, - going home for vacation!

Shortly after coming home,  - the manager of the Jebsen office in Aabenraa asked me if I knew a Chinese crew member on the "Emma Jebsen" by the name Chan Lap Chung?
Of course I did!
Then he asked if he was a good man?
Well, - Chan Lap Chung was not exactly what you would normally refer to as a gentleman and a scholar, - but he was my friend -, so I could confirm, that Chan Lap Chung was working well and always willing!  No problems with him!
I just wondered what all this was about?
Had Chan Lap Chung gone too far with his smuggling and his natural Chinese instinct and tendency to make "business" wherever he went????
After all, - it was not just a coincident, that I had given him the nickname "Smarty"!

But no, - it was nothing like that!
Chan Lap Chung had just been killed by a traffic accident in Hong Kong!

Therefore, the pictures you see above are not only from my last visit to Chan Lap Chung's cabin, but most likely they are also the last pictures ever taken of him!

May he have forever fun, - wherever he is - - - -

Click here for  "Emma Jebsen" , - Life onboard - part 4

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Updated:  October 8th. 2003, - Nov. 13th. 2004, - Feb.02.2010